Evaluation of development programmes

Evaluation and Aid Effectiveness Series


Evaluation is a key tool in improving the quality and effectiveness of development co-operation. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Working Party in Aid Evaluation is the only international forum where bilateral and multilateral evaluation experts meet regularly. Its members meet to improve evaluation practice and to learn lessons from development co-operation activities and experiences.

A series "Evaluation and Aid Effectiveness" was launched to share selected pieces of work with a broader public. The following are available in the series (available in PDF):

This Guidance is aimed at those involved in the commissioning, design and management of evaluations of humanitarian assistance programmes principally within donor organisations but is also likely to be of use to UN agencies, NGOs and other organisations involved in the provision of humanitarian assistance. It is not intended as an exhaustive guide as specialised texts are available, but to complement the existing DAC Principles on Aid Evaluation by highlighting those areas which require special attention, the nature of the activities undertaken and the multi-actor, highly interconnected system by which the international community provides humanitarian assistance.

This publication provides a unique overview of approaches and methods for country programme evaluation. It contains i) an analytical review of the workshop's main findings; ii) an overview of the state-of-the-art approaches and methodologies used for country programme evaluations; and iii) the case studies, which were presented and discussed at the workshop.

This study acknowledges the considerable progress made in terms of the growing mainstreaming of environmental issues and recognises the need for additional efforts in the context of widespread institutional capacity development. As such, this report shall be considered as a complement to the Committee's earlier publications and guidelines on CDE. These should guide both programme-level and specific project-level CDE assessments and serve as a source of general information for policy-makers as well as practitioners in donor agencies and developing countries.

Joint multi-donor evaluations provide opportunities but also create challenges. The collaborative nature of such evaluations requires special attention and handling. This guide sets out the key steps to be taken when planning and implementing multi-donor evaluations. It draws upon experiences encountered in various types of multi-donor evaluations, some of which were conducted by the DAC Working Party on Aid Evaluation, while others were joint evaluations of multilateral agencies such as UNICEF, or more recently the European Commission's aid programmes and UNCDF. Insights have also been gained through joint evaluations by the Nordic countries.

This publication is composed of two parts: The Workshop Report, based on the fore-mentioned meeting, highlights the various issues raised, topics of discussion and different feedback systems, and outlines the areas identified by participants as most relevant for improving evaluation feedback. The Background Synthesis Report, intended as a starting point for discussion at the workshop, outlines the main concerns and challenges facing evaluation feedback and the means to address these. The report is based on an analysis of questionnaire results, and a review of previous initiatives in this area.

Also available in: Chinese Italian , Japanese , Portuguese Russian .

The DAC Working Party on Aid Evaluation (WP-EV) has developed this glossary of key terms in evaluation and results-based management because of the need to clarify concepts and to reduce the terminological confusion frequently encountered in these areas in English, French and Spanish. Evaluation is a field where development partners - often with widely differing linguistic backgrounds - work together and need to use a common vocabulary. Over the years, however, definitions evolved in such a way that they bristled with faux amis, ambivalence and ambiguity. It had become urgent to clarify and refine the language employed and to give it a harmonious, common basis. With this publication, the WP-EV hopes to facilitate and improve dialogue and understanding among all those who are involved in development activities and their evaluation, whether in partner countries, development agencies and banks, or non-governmental organisations. It should serve as a valuable reference guide in evaluation training and in practical development work.


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